Monthly Archives: August 2011

Identify This (Seven) Treasure…

Ironic, isn’t it? Japan is supposed to be the dangerous place to be, but in the days since I left New Jersey, the East Coast has had an earthquake and is now facing a major hurricane. To escape my Irene worries, I did the one thing that can take my mind off anything – I went to a shrine sale – and a fabulous one at that. It was an extremely hot and steamy day at Kawagoe today, but my favorite form of retail therapy did its magic. I have a proper post on the day coming, but in the meantime, I am throwing out a challenge to my readers. Can you guess what this object is?

The pattern is the well known shippou-tsunagi (seven treasures pattern), decorating Japanese textiles, porcelain, furniture and just about anything.

And while we are at it, in an incredibly modern form – digital furniture design – on this walnut desk by Laszlo Beckett. I have been drooling over this for a while!


But what do you use the object for?  Leave your guess in the comments. The correct answer wins a small prize! Here’s a hint of the prize to get your brain going…

Feeling Blue…Opaline Glass Sets the Mood

I saw a lot of blue opaline glass on my antique travels this summer. I’ll use the term lightly, as much of it was not “officially” the rare French glass produced from the late 18th century through about 1890. Real opaline is a richly saturated cerulean-meets-turquoise type blue, quite different from the watery blue-green glass I am often writing about (here and here). Sometimes it has hand painting or gilding. Much of the glass I saw was in the opaline “style,” but it still packed a colorful punch, reminding me of one of my favorite interiors, the living room of Christy Ford, featured in Southern Living. Ford and her mother Jan Roden (whose house featured years ago in House Beautiful remains one of my inspiration interiors) have what looks to be a fabulous shop called And George in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Here you can see a bit of the chandelier peeking out in her entryway.

And designer Suzanne Kasler loves to use it too. The key to using is successfully is to group a series of objects in a mostly neutral toned and simple space, perhaps picking up the color for another accent elsewhere. Here Suzanne uses it on the ottoman to great effect. Christy Ford used similarly colored candles in her living room above.

Here’s a close-up…

I think I must be feeling a bit blue myself. Leaving the US tomorrow morning after 10 wonderful weeks, going home to Tokyo. Bittersweet as always…

Image credits: 1-3. me, 4-5. Southern Living, photo credit William Waldron, 6-7. both rooms designed by Suzanne Kasler, mea culpa, I don’t have the credits on them, but perhaps they are from her book Suzanne Kasler: Inspired Interiors.

More Real Locations in New Jersey…Antiquing Along the Northern Shore

For so long, antiquing along the Jersey Shore has been my well-kept secret, or so I like to believe. Numerous shops, particularly a few large group ones, sell the contents of homes in the most densely populated state in the country, so you name it and it can be found. Being far from New York City has kept them more insulated than Westchester or Connecticut, where you might add hundreds to the prices and certainly Manhattan, where you would need to add an entire digit. More recently a few television shows on HGTV have highlighted some, resulting in greater traffic and its incumbent increased business. In this post, I am going to mention of few more of my favorites, knowing that it will be a double-edged sword. I want exposure for these great people and places, but worry that exposure will cause the supply of items to go down while the prices go up. But I honestly can’t resist singing their praises. So over the last few days I have been making my final visits in anticipation of my departure for Japan on Monday.

I started at the very north end of the “shore” in Red Bank, NJ. Along with numerous individual shops, there are two major antique centers, the Antique Center of Red Bank which has more than 100 dealers and the 40 dealer Monmouth Antique Shoppes across the street. Both are excellent, but for me the latter edges out the former in the way in which the dealers curate their stalls and the outstanding service the salespeople provide. Yesterday was no exception and we had a grand afternoon perusing everything from architectural remnants to fine linens.

Our haul included all the small decorative items below plus a wicker chair and amazing foldable Moroccan carved coffee table.

You can see the top of the table in this photo, with its lovely copper inlay, but it doesn’t begin to do it justice. I have always had a predilection for this style furniture and I hope its current uber-trendiness doesn’t spoil it for me. This one is actually for a project in Brooklyn, but I have a gorgeous brass tray table version as the coffee table in the beach house. Stumbling across these locally yields huge bargains as they really do get pricey as they move up the antiques food chain – just check out 1stdibs and you’ll see.

Directly across Front Street is the larger and better of the two buildings of the Antique Center of Red Bank. While definitely more of a mish-mash than the Monmouth Shoppes, it is a wonderful place to scour. Earlier purchases this summer include the gorgeous dresser I found at half price (plus even more discount for cash) for my bedroom.

I forgot to photograph yesterday’s treasures, but they included a small painted French bench with a kilim covered seat and a wicker plant stand. I had been hoping to check out a fabulous set of framed Vogue covers from around 1915 seen earlier this summer, but they had sold. No surprise there…

Heading south to Allenhurst, a small hamlet just north of Asbury Park, you come to my absolute favorite haunt, Shore Antique Center, run by lovely proprietors Chris and Rose. I haven’t walked out of there all summer without buying something for myself, whether big (think china cabinet) or small (think galvanized RR bucket) or something for someone else.

My girls had scored there too, including this mismatched pair of Maund prints we are calling their sister prints, each just the right color for their bedrooms.

Today was lucky for them too – a vintage straw hat for one daughter (just right for displaying on the hat racks bought the day before) and a hat box for the other (just right for organizing storage). I am sure those who know us personally can guess which one was which! Those items came from a shop within the larger center called “Time Was Antique Clothing” which happens to be the nicest vintage clothing shop I have visited in years. Nineteenth century wedding dresses, 1940s men’s bathing suits and 1970s platform boots all co-mingle in the artful displays.

Also still available at Shore Antiques Center are these fabulous green painted shutters. Try as I might, I can’t come up with a use for them. There are six of them…Somebody please buy them!

Heading 20 minutes further south, having passed the Antique Emporium of Asbury Park which I wrote about here the other day, brings you to Point Pleasant, another town chock full of antique and housewares dealers. My long time haunt Point Pleasant Antique Emporium is just off the main drag of town, although I have made finds like this and this at many of the other stores nearby. I honestly think I have been shopping there for 20 years! Unfortunately, this is the first year I have not had much luck in Point Pleasant, so other than the glass insulator photos taken earlier this summer, I don’t have photos to post. But I recommend it as highly as the others mentioned…

To simplify matters, here is a map showing the relationship of all the locations. With basic 10am-5pm opening times, it is impossible to visit these all in a day, even though the total distance from A to D is just 21 miles. But it would be well worth a long weekend visit…

Monmouth Antique Shoppes
217 West Front Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701

Antique Center of Red Bank
226 West Front Street
Red Bank NJ 07701

Shore Antique Center
413 Allen Avenue
Allenhurst, NJ 07711
(732) 531-4466

Antique Emporium of Asbury Park
646 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
(732) 774-8230

Point Pleasant Antique Emporium
622 Trenton Avenue (At the corner of Bay Ave. and Trenton Ave.)
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
(732) 892-2222

A little postscript…As I was getting ready to publish this post a neighbor brought by the recent “The Best Of” issue of NJMonthly magazine. Listed for “Best Antiques” are Antique Center of Red Bank, followed by runners-up Point Pleasant Antique Emporium and Antique Emporium of Asbury Park. I guess they are not actually such a well-kept secret after all. The final runner-up was Kanibal Home in Jersey City which I have never heard of. Makes me want to check it out…

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing Baby…Katagami Go Mainstream at Crate & Barrel

Thanks to K, I can report that others out there besides myself and my readers are katagami (rice paste stencils) crazy. None other than Crate & Barrel is working with artist Robin Bradford to produce a series of five new stylized framed katagami.

Interesting, but not the same at all. Don’t you agree?

For more on this topic, see my previous post Katagami…Perfect Thank You Present Found. And feel free to contact me if you want assistance in purchasing some antique originals…

Summer Simple…Vignettes and the Art of Arranging

I picked up the August issue of Real Simple and was delighted by these two artfully arranged vignettes.

This lovely mantle reminded me of another I had recently seen…

…Joan’s beautiful summer mantle from for the love of a house

and this one I had recently posted, belonging to Jocie Sinauer of Red Chair Antiques. Both houses are well worth looking at in their entirety.

From there I immediately thought of two of my favorite inspiration photos from Ben Pentreath‘s shop and website.

And I couldn’t resist adding a few more photos saved over the years, posted by others…


…and this one.

A vintage print, bit of coral or old silver, some white ironstone, softly colored candles and flowers…the subtle glow of light. All speak to me in the bittersweet language of the coming end of summer…

Image credits: 1-2. Real Simple August 2011, photo credit: David Prince, 3. via for the love of a house, 4. Jocie Sinauer of Red Chair Antiques via Design*Sponge, 5-6. via Ben Pentreath, 7. via The City Sage, 8. via French Home, 9. via Habitually Chic.

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